Plum Crazy

bold purple dining room walls with white trim1960s purple is hitting the walls – sometimes full-strength and sometimes muted.

Three years ago I first noticed two plummy dark rooms — both in England – but it was difficult to find a purple paint if you had the yen.  Since then the hues we most find among the plums and grapes in the produce section of the supermarket have hit the fan decks, upholstery fabrics and accessories as some of us crave strong color to personalize home spaces.

When searching for a purple it’s important to remember that color distortion in computer monitors can make paint color in an inspiration photo look way different than the actual swatch. Ralph Lauren's Embassy Purple swatchPurple walls in a dining room can be as stunning as these, particularly with high-contrast white upholstery curtains and trim. According to the source, this paint color is Ralph Lauren’s Embassy Purple — but  — the Ralph swatch looks nothing like it! So adjustments sometimes must at the paint store and I always recommend taking the extra step of painting color samples on 24 x 36-inch poster board and pinning those up on the walls for a color check in any room at different times of the day.

mudroom hanging space painted muted dark purpleOddly, Ralph’s Embassy Purple might work on an accent wall in a mudroom  like this one (though it appears somewhat darker). Here, the purple plays  beautifully against peridot green walls and ivory trim.

purple foyer with green ceiling trim and green-painted staircasePurple is a major theme in this foyer and hallway with a semi-sweet green trim near the ceiling and on the stairs. The color continues upstairs where we showed it used previously in a terrific kid-centric play space. Check out Benjamin Moore’s Twilight Magenta – the closest match in my monitor. It’s possible to select the entire purple palette in Moore’s handy color gallery.

magenta walls iwith stenciled trees in a purple bedroomPurple stenciled walls may seem a bit over-the-top though the stencil is simply an accent in a highly stylized bedroom. Anyone who craves nighttime glamor might go for this magenta but it’s certainly intense, especially on the floor.

purple sitting room with purple furniture and a white floorVeteran designer Stephen Gambrel used purple cleverly in this sitting room. Keeping the wall and sofa so much the same, the sofa blends into the background allowing the whitewashed floor and the white room beyond to set it off.

(Source: xJavierx/flickr, Laura Casey Interiors, Smith & Van Zant,, Steven Gambrel)


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6 Responses to Plum Crazy

  1. RHome410 April 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    I absolutely love the mudroom where the plum makes for fun and cozy at the same time. For me, it’s just overwhelming in the rest. Part of it is, that on my monitor, at least, the ‘plums’ are pinker or graper than I like…and I’m more of an eggplant or aubergine girl, I guess. Even if the right color, that’d be a lot to deal with, I think.

  2. The House on Lavender Hill April 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    LOVE it! But, then again, I live in a lavender house and every room in it has been kissed with purple!

    Come visit!

  3. Scribbler April 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    I love purple, although I have never used a deeply saturated shade on a wall. I would like to try it somewhere, but I haven’t had the right place. Usually I use the deep purple in accents, but after visiting a cute beach house recently, I am thinking of doing something bigger. In that beach house, there was an old china cabinet painted purple! I loved it.
    That last photo is a really pretty shade.

  4. Msshe February 17, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    I once painted a bedroom dark plum….and it was gorgeous . Sheila


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